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Old March 9th 05, 06:04 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default February 2005 Global Weather Highlights



Wet weather in areas of the western United States which began during
November continued in December and January. This parade of Pacific
storm systems ameliorated drought conditions in parts of the region,
with areas of the Southwest receiving some of the most beneficial but
in some cases, excessive precipitation. Extreme to exceptional drought
persisted farther north throughout portions of the northern and central

A storm system impacted parts of Arizona on February 12th, causing
portions of four highways near the city of Globe, AZ to be closed due
to rock slides and flooding. The heavy rain and snowmelt also forced
several residents to evacuate their homes as a result of the flooding.
No injuries or fatalities were reported.


Long-term drought continued across areas of the Greater Horn of Africa
and southern Africa. Despite recent rains, long-term drought continues
in portions of southern Mozambique and adjacent parts of Zimbabwe and
South Africa.


Across Venezuela and Colombia, flooding rains on the 9th struck the
mountainous central coast, triggering landslides, destroying homes and
washing out roads. There were at least 86 deaths attributed to flooding
and landslides, with tens of thousands displaced from their homes.

Flooding rains that affected Guyana in January persisted into early
February. In Georgetown, nearly 110 mm (4.3 inches) of rain fell during
the first six days of February, which is close to the normal rainfall
for the entire month (120 mm or 4.7 inches).


In Pakistan, heavy rains in the south and snow in the north, triggered
flooding and avalanches, killing at least 486 people during the second
week of the month. Several dams throughout the country collapsed
washing away homes, livestock, and entire villages, leaving thousands
homeless. The air force, navy and army rescued hundreds of survivors
and provided drinking water and food to many of the devastated

Heavy snow that began January in Tajikstan continued in early February.
Significant snowfall accumulations caused roofs to collapse on
hospitals, schools and private homes. In mountainous areas of the
country, key populated valleys were completely cut off from the rest of
the country. In Tavildara, as much as two meters of snow (6.6 feet) had
accumulated by February 10. In the Rasht Valley, over a hundred major
avalanches affected populated areas, trapping hundreds of vehicles, and
killing 9 people.

In the Kashmir region along the India/Pakistan border, snowfall
described as the worst in two decades affected parts of the Himalayan
region during February 16-20. In India, at least 230 people were killed
due to the extreme winter weather (OCHA/Reuters). Snowfall
accumulations reached 2 meters (6.6 feet) in some parts of Jammu and
Kashmir states in India.

In Iran, nearly a week of snowfall occurring during the first half of
February brought accumulations of up to 50 cm (20 inches) in the
northern parts of the city of Tehran. This was most snow accumulation
in the city since 1964.


Victoria recorded its highest statewide February rainfall since 1973.
Manly stations received record 24-rainfall totals on the 2nd-3rd,
including 120 mm (4.72 inches) at Melbourne.

Tropical Cyclone Harvey developed in the Gulf of Carpentaria on the
6th, attaining tropical storm strength before moving inland near the
Sir Edward Pellew Group in Australia's Northern Territory on the 7th.
Maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were near 95 km/hr (50
knots or 60 mph). Heavy
rainfall accompanied the cyclone as it weakened quickly on its trek


Tropical Cyclone Olaf passed within 97 km (60 miles) of coastal areas
of Samoa, American Samoa and the Cook and Manua Islands on February
15-16. Sustained wind speeds of 258 km/hr (140 knots or 160 mph) were
reported, with gusts up to 306
km/hr (165 knots or 190 mph), downing power lines, trees and ripping
roofs from houses. Heavy rains and high storm surge also impacted the
islands, causing coastal flooding and displacing thousands. No injuries
or fatalities were reported, although American Samoa was declared a
disaster area. On the island of Ta'u, nearly every house in the village
of Fitiuata was destroyed.

Tropical Cyclone Percy developed on the 25th in the South Pacific
Ocean, and affected Tokelau on the 26th with maximum sustained winds
near 175 km/hr (95 knots or 110 mph). Percy produced widespread damage
to the three atolls of Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo. Percy passed
through American Samoa and the northern Cook Islands on the 28th,
causing widespread damage to Pukapuka on the 28th as maximum sustained
winds were near 240 km/hr (130 knots or 150 mph). On Pukapuka
(population 600), only 10 houses weathered the cyclone intact, with the
remaining structures severely damaged or destroyed.


Heavy snow fell in parts of Europe during the first few days of the
month, including portions of Austria, Germany, Albania, Bulgaria and
Greece. In Bulgaria, authorities declared a state of emergency for
eastern regions of the country, as heavy snowfall closed airports and
produced 6-foot drifts that trapped around 100 vehicles near the city
of Varna. There were 4 deaths in Bulgaria blamed by the cold and snow.

Extremely cold temperatures affected much of the Balkan region for the
first half of the month. In Sevlievo, Bulgaria, a 50-year temperature
record was broken when temperatures reached as low as -34C
(-61.2F). At least 12 fatalities occurred in the region. Hospitals in
central Bosnia were closed when heating systems malfunctioned due to
the -29C (-52.2F) temperatures. The surviving snowbound villagers
have been fighting off hungry wolves and wild boar searching for food.

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